When Mayor Julián Castro removed a section of chain link separating the Commander’s House from South Flores Street on Friday, it marked the symbolic start of construction of the $100 million expansion of the H-E-B corporate headquarters at the historic Arsenal.
“This is the ‘Decade of Downtown’, the decade when downtown San Antonio comes back to life,” Mayor Castro said at Friday’s press conference. Castro said the combined private-public investment in the project will total $140 million.
Construction will start later this year on the Flores Market grocery store and adjacent gas station set to open in 2015. H-E-B will add an estimated 1,600 new employees at its expanded campus by 2020. The company will open Whitley and Dwyer Streets, create ADA-friendly walking paths, preserve an existing bike route and pedestrian paths on South Main Avenue, arrange VIA transportation to the Commander’s House, and create a 30-foot pedestrian and bike amenity zone. A culinary center and cooking school is under construction now and there are plans for a multi-story office building, and parking garage.
“This means for San Antonians, wherever they live – in the North side, the South side, the West side or the East side – our downtown is where it’s at,” Castro said. “This is the downtown for you, it has everything, including, in the summer of 2015, a downtown grocery store.”
A downtown grocery story was a key item on Castro’ agenda when he first took office as mayor in 2009.
*Featured/top: Mayor Julián Castro announces beginning of South Flores Street Construction on June 27. Photo by Page Graham.